If you're considering watching Wishmaster: The Prophecy Fulfilled
either a fan of the series, a movie reviewer, or a glutton for punishment.
Guess which one I am?
I remember enjoying the first film, with its cavalcade of horror movie stars (Robert
Englund a.k.a. Freddy, Kane Hodder a.k.a. Jason Vorhees, Tony Todd a.k.a. The
Candyman, and Angus Scrimm a.k.a. The Tall Man from Phantasm), but it was
nothing that demanded a sequel, let alone three (count 'em. Three) direct-to-video
The concept of the films is this: The Djinn are trapped in the space between worlds.
The person who awakens a Djinn will be granted three wishes. Once the third wish
is granted, the Evil Brotherhood of the Djinn will be released into the world,
which is presumably a bad thing. Since the Wishmasters are horror movies,
the body count has to be kept high, so, while the Djinn is waiting around to grant
three wishes to "the waker" -- the person who released him from the gem that he
inhabits (I guess lamps are passÈ) -- he also grants one wish a piece to the random
people he meets, and then takes their souls in exchange. Invariably those wishes
are worded in such a way that allows the Djinn to dispose of the wishers in a
creatively gory fashion.
Now, you'd think that after several thousand years, someone would have
actually got their three wishes granted. We've seen two Djinn in the series (Andrew
Divoff in the first two, and John Novak in the second two), and conceivably there
are more. But, well, it's pretty much the Djinn's fault that they've never managed
to free the rest of their kind from eternal imprisonment, because they seem to
have this compulsive pathological need to goad people (and often these people
are friends of "the waker") to make wishes, and then grant them in a way that
leaves a bloody path of destruction. This, at the very least, is a bit of a distraction
from the Djinn's main goal, and, at worst, makes it a lot more likely that someone
will figure out what's going on before the third wish is granted.
This Wishmaster starts out with a lot of promise. The Djinn (SPOILERS IN
THIS PARAGRAPH) takes on the form of the waker's possible love interest, Steven
Verdel. So he gets a gold star for sneakiness. The first two wishes are granted
pretty quickly, because the waker, Lisa, doesn't realize that her wishes have
been fulfilled through supernatural means. Then Lisa makes her third wish. "I
wish I could love you for who you really are." Which makes things interesting,
because the 'you' in her wish is someone who appears to be Steven Verdel, but
is in fact a slimy denizen of a hell-dimension. It's a world-class catch 22. And
from there, the film could have gone in all sorts of directions. A romantic comedy
about an evil being trying to learn about human love. A truly horrifying interpretation
of the Beauty and the Beast paradigm. A look at the very fine line between manipulation
and the more romantic concept "winning someone's heart."
On some level, the film wants to be all these things, butÖ well, it is
a Wishmaster movie, and as such, it can no more escape its destiny than
a Djinn can pass up a chance to turn someone's innocent wish into a pun-laced
The rising action of the film centers on the wary love-hate triangle-shaped interaction
between Djinn Verdel, Lisa, and Lisa's estranged boyfriend, Sam. It gets points
for that. It also gets points for a good opening sequence and an even better opening
song, for the surprisingly effective performance by Michael Trucco as Djinn Verdel,
and for the subtle creepiness of the "I wish someone would kiss me like that"
wish. It's all kind of interesting until about halfway in, when the movie finally
gets to the good stuff, and by "the good stuff" I mean the usual crap that you
expect from a "guy in a slimy rubber suit makes with the carnage" movie.
For me, the movie started losing points with lame "Killer Sex" sequence (I'll
leave that to your imagination, since you'll probably imagine something a lot
more interesting than the filmmakers did), and it just kept hemorrhaging points
after that. The next scene takes place in a strip club. Yeah, I suppose that
it sort of makes sense in the context of the story, but that's not the real
reason that the scene takes place in a strip club. The real reason is, there
hasn't been any nudity for 15 or 20 minutes, and the natives are getting restless.
I'm not averse to nudity in movies, especially when the movie is telling a great
story (Brotherhood of
the Wolf and Eyes Wide Shut, for example). But, two minutes into
the strip club sequence, and I'm starting to feel as disillusioned as a young
director who thinks he's making an "erotic thriller", when , in fact, he's pushing
out a celluloid turd to add to the compost heap of late-night pay cable. Not
that Wishmaster: The Prophecy Fulfilled is as bad as those. No, my own
personal version of hell would be an eternity of being subjected to an endless
parade of low-budget thrillers that incorporate words like "blue", "sin", "night",
and "obsession" into the title.
In any case, the strip club sequence is followed by scenes of the Djinn monster
in broad daylight. Which is a big mistake, because, while he wasn't particularly
scary before, at least he still had some measure of dignity. Now he just looks
like a guy in a rubber suitÖ and, is thatÖ is he wearing boxing trunks? So the
Djinn has a sword fight with some ruthless angel guy, and the fight choreography
isn't so bad, but the scene is laughable. At one point, the Djinn jumps up to
avoid a low sword slash, and it looks likeÖ well, it looks like what it is, which
is a guy trying clumsily to overcome the excess mass imposed upon him by countless
pounds of sculpted rubber.
Then there's the matter of this angel with a sword. (SPOILERS AHEAD) He gets summoned
after Lisa makes her third wish, which is terribly poor planning on the part of
the angels. Why not come to earth after the second wish is granted at least? It
seems pointless to come into the world after the third wish is spoken, since 99.999%
of wishes aren't going to involve a wacky wish-granting paradox. If it weren't
for the fact that Lisa's wish is a conundrum, the Djinn would have been able to
grant the third wish and release his kind into the world long before the angel
had time to get there. I mean, he doesn't even have wings. He has to walk to Lisa's
place of employment from whatever mystical statue he jumped out of. It seems like
a plot hole, but I know the answer: the angels are even dumber than the Djinn,
and the filmmakers are dumber than them both.
Top it all off with a "the house is melding with the realm of the Djinn" sequence
that basically involves people wearing rubber claws and face masks pushing through
pre-made holes in the wall like rent-a-spooks employed by your town's annual Halloween
haunted house. And then there's the fact that, (SPOILER) though the movie is subtitled
The Prophecy Fulfilled, it really should have been called Wishmaster:
The Prophecy is Almost-But-Not-Quite Fulfilled, Because Fulfilling the Prophecy
Would Have Required a Bigger Budget
The thing is, there's a place in the world for the cheesy kind of horror that
involves nasty puns and gruesome deaths where blood spurts like a geyser from
a tube hidden in the character's clothing. I got a chuckle out of several things,
like what the Djinn does when a guy muses "I'd sell my soul to be a pimple on
her ass." And the line "God is not invited to this party, Sam" is one of the best
additions I've heard to the now cliched tradition of having a good character say
something with the word "God", "Jesus", or "Heaven" in it, to which the evil guy
responds with some variation on "Heaven has nothing to with it."
And it's not that you can't mix character development with gore. It's that Wishmaster:
The Prophecy Fulfilled was mixed poorly, has a few rotten ingredients, and
was only half-baked.
My recommendation: Watch the first 45 minutes, then turn it off and make up
your own ending.
DVD Wishes and Caviar Screams
Wishmaster: The Prophecy Fulfilled features not one, but two commentary
tracks. Listening to the first gave me an appreciation for all the hard work
and sweat that goes into creating a made-for-video (not just direct-to-video,
but made-for-video) feature. The director, Chris Angel, had only 16 days of
principle photography for The Prophecy Fulfilled, and he had just finished
shooting Wishmaster 3 the previous week. On the commentary, Angel provides
us with tongue-in-cheek pearls of wisdom like "there has to be a shower scene
in every horror movie", and tells us that (surprise!) the producers were very
keen about having a sex scene at the very beginning of the film. The first track
also features two of the lead actors, affable types who seem like guys you'd
want to hang around with.
Sadly, most of the goodwill toward the filmmakers that had built up in my heart
during the first commentary was dispelled by the second commentary. There were
three participants in this commentary. One participant failed to show up for the
taping, one didn't have much to add, and the third one, the director, seemed intent
on repeating every bit of info he'd already shared in the first commentary track.
The "making of" piece, called "Wishmasterpiece Theatre" is good for exactly two
laughs. One from the title, and one from the line "rather than actually crush
the actor's hand, makeup is applied to simulate the effect."
Finally, for those who just can't get enough Wishmaster, there's the "Wishmaster
DVD Rating: 4